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K'Naan Biography

Home > Music > K > K'Naan > Biography

Birth Name: Keinan Abdi Warsame
Born: 1978/02/01
Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Years Active: 2001–present
Genres: Hip Hop, World Music

K'naan (born February 1, 1978 Keinan Abdi Warsame) is a Somali Canadian poet, rapper, singer, songwriter and instrumentalist.

K'naan became a friend and associate of Canadian promoter Sol Guy, who helped him secure a speaking engagement before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1999, where K'naan performed a spoken word piece criticizing the UN for its failed aid missions to Somalia. One of the audience members, Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour, was so impressed by the young MC's performance and courage that he invited him to contribute to his 2001 album “Building Bridges,” a project through which K'naan was able to tour the world.

This project led to his work at other UN events, as well as the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Halifax Pop Explosion. It also helped him meet Canadian producer Brian West and Jarvis Church and his Track & Field team in 2002, who produced his debut album “The Dusty Foot Philosopher,” which was released in 2005 to critical acclaim. In 2006, it won the Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year, and was nominated for the 2006 Polaris Music Prize.

In 2007 K'naan released “The Dusty Foot on the Road,” a collection of recording made during his world tour on Wrasse Records. “The Dusty Foot Philosopher” was re-released and re-packaged as a “Deluxe Edition” featuring new mixes and a bonus DVD in the United States by the record label iM in 2008.

K'naan’s album, “Troubadour,” was released in the summer of 2010. It was his debut album for the new label, A&M/Octone Records. The album's first single, “ABC's,” was released to radio in late 2008.

In 2012, K'naan released a five song EP under the title “More Beautiful Than Silence” including songs such as “Nothing to Lose,” “Better” and “Anybody Out there.” The release also included collaborations with Nas and Nelly Furtado.